Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Where Reason Fears To Tread

Saturday night I joined the Catholic Church and partook of the Blessed Sacrament for the first time. It was... amazing. I hesitate to use the word because we overuse it so much, but I can think of no better description. Jesus is present in the Eucharist, there is no doubt in my mind about that. Not only because of the things I have learned from RCIA and from Sacred Scripture, but from my experience Saturday night. I ate God. It was the most tangible He has ever been in my life. I can't describe it and I don't know that I could ever explain it. Honestly, it doesn't make much sense.

And that's okay.

One error that I am often prone to, and that my series of posts on RCIA attests to, is that I tend to put logic and reason first to the exclusion of all else. Things have to make sense to me before I believe them. I have to wrestle with ideas before I can accept them. This is good, it is far better than blind faith, but it can be taken too far. Reason is not the end all be all of human knowledge. It is vital, it is necessary, but it is ultimately insufficient.

There is, after all, a supernatural element to all of this. If we ignore that we do God great injustice. For how can we bind the creator of the universe to the merely natural? Reason can take you quite far, but it stops at the realm of the supernatural. Being a good scientifically minded westerner, I am often afraid to leave my reason behind and cross that threshold. Saturday night the Catholic Church compelled me to do so. I cannot deny that there is more to God than systematic theologies and arguments over Sola Scriptura when I am ingesting Him. I ate Him. I felt Him in a way I've never felt before.

Systematic Theologies didn't die on the cross for my sins. Doctrine didn't die on the cross for my sins. Christ did.
"Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles"
And why the creator of the universe chose to redeem his creation through such folly I'll probably never understand in this lifetime. However, the point I am trying to make here is that if we focus solely on reason we neglect the power of Christ to our own peril. We become like the pharisees, too busy arguing over the lawfulness of healing on the Sabbath to stop and consider the miracle of the healing!

And perhaps this is why until I was in college I had developed the assumption that God had stopped doing miracles. It was never a conscious belief. I never saw one and and my church never talked about them so they just didn't figure into my worldview. For all I knew miracles ended when the twelve died. Then I went to college and heard stories of logistical miracles mostly from people who went on short term mission trips. Those stories were never very compelling as the consisted mostly of getting from point A to point B in a time no one thought possible. There wasn't any unmistakable divine intervention there!

But, dear reader, there are honest to God miracles taking place in this world. Even today. But for some reason we never talk about them! So why do I favor arguing over the translations of individual Greek and Hebrew words when I could mention the miracles of St. Padre Pio? Why do I dwell on the role the magisterium when I can talk about the Incorruptibles?

Reason is great until it blinds you, and I suppose to some extent I have been blinded to the supernatural side of the Church. We set our sights too low. We ask God for a textbook when we could be asking miracles. 

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